Probiotics are good bacteria that are found in the digestive tract and help fight bad bacteria. According to health experts, there should be more good bacteria in the digestive tract than bad. If the ideal 85% to 15% ratio is compromised, overall health is likewise compromised, and illnesses and medical conditions like diarrhea, lactose intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, and constipation are most likely to develop. This is why it is necessary to increase the number of probiotics in the digestive tract. And this can be done by incorporating probiotic foods in the diet. Here are some good examples of probiotic foods.
- Yogurt. Yogurt has the probiotics Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophilus. Care should be observed, however, when purchasing yogurt, as some yogurt products do not have the necessary good bacteria. To be sure, buy the yogurt products that have “active culture” or “live culture” printed on the labels. These are the ones that are beneficial to your digestive tract.
- Buttermilk. Buttermilk is another dairy product that is a good source of probiotics. It is processed through fermentation, a procedure that preserves probiotics. Other dairy products that are also rich in probiotics are acidophilus milk and certain types of cheese.
- Sauerkraut. Fermented cabbage or sauerkraut contains probiotics, specifically Lactobacillus. Again, look for “active culture” or “live culture” on the packaging when buying sauerkraut. This is because some sauerkraut products underwent pasteurization, a process that inevitably kills the good bacteria along with the bad. Kim chi, the Korean version of fermented cabbage, also has good probiotic count. Other fermented canned vegetables are as well good sources of probiotics, but make sure no vinegar was used in the food preparation and preservation.
- Miso. Miso is another fermented food item that contains good amount of probiotics. Specifically, miso is fermented grains or seasonings used in different dishes particularly in soup.
- Tempeh. Also fermented, tempeh has probiotic benefits. It is fermented soy that is used in vegetarian dishes as a meat alternative. Aside from probiotics, tempeh is also rich in protein.
- Kefir. Kefir is fermented milk added with kefir grains. It is a very creamy, sour drink that is similar to yogurt. It contains Lactobacillus Caucasus and other probiotics not present in yogurt.
- Fruits and vegetables. Fruits, such as banana and tomato, and vegetables, such as garlic, onion, and asparagus, are also high in probiotic content. Whether you eat them fresh or have them cooked, you will benefit from their probiotic count. However, refrain from using vinegar to prepare such foods, as vinegar can kill good bacteria. Other than fresh fruits, fruit juices also have probiotics.
- Supplements. You can also consider taking supplements to increase probiotics in your digestive track. They usually come in capsule and tablet forms. According to health experts, probiotic supplements should be taken twice a day. A dosage of 10 to 20 CFU (billion live organisms) is recommended.
You might feel bloated after a few days of priobiotic diet. This is quite normal, as your digestive system is starting to get used to the diet. As you continue to eat probiotic foods and take supplements, your feeling will gradually normalize.